New ‘boil water’ notice in Jackson due to freeze. Four substations sabotaged in Washington State, leaving 14,000 without power. Iran protest movement marks 100 days.
New ‘boil water’ notice in Jackson due to freeze
Days of low temperatures and severe storms has wrought havoc over much of the US. Even Buffalo, NY, no stranger to harsh winter weather, has declared this the worst storm in the city’s history. In Western New York State, 27 people have died, 25 of them in Buffalo. This included many who froze to death in their cars after becoming stuck and then covered by snow.
Things haven’t been nearly as bad in Mississippi and the rest of the Southeast, but the region hasn’t been spared either. The antiquated and poorly-maintained water system in Jackson has suffered yet another weather-related blow, four months after the entire city lost water pressure for days this summer. Over the weekend, the city reported that water pressure was “fluctuating” due to the freeze. Now the entire city is under a “boil water” notice. In February 2021, a similar spate of freezing weather left much of the city without running water for days.
Months of political wrangling and finger-pointing between city, state and federal authorities has brought the city no closer to bringing its water system into the 21st century. Earlier this month, a federal judge appointed a special third-party manager to take charge of a series of short-term fixes.
Four substations sabotaged in Washington State, leaving 14,000 without power
Between 2:39 a.m. and 7:21 p.m. local time on Christmas day, vandals broke into and sabotaged equipment in four power substations near Tacoma, WA. The entire state had suffered below freezing temperatures just two days before, but thankfully temperatures were low but at least above freezing on Christmas day. By Monday morning, most affected customers had power restored.
Local authorities are investigating but have made no arrests nor named any persons of interests. Power substations have become an appealing target for domestic terrorists. Earlier this month, gunfire attacks on two power substations in North Carolina left thousands without power for days amid freezing temperatures. Local police have still made no arrests in those incidents, which forced thousands of residents into shelters to keep warm and charge phones and home medical equipment. Authorities were also unable to confirm or refute reports that the saboteurs had targeted the substations to thwart plans for a drag show.
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security warned that critical infrastructure, including largely unsecured power stations, could be targeted by “lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances”.
Iran protest movement marks 100 days
Iran’s antiregime protest movement has just reached the 100-day mark. It began with the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa, or Zhina, Amini in the custody of the morality police. Since then, the protest movement has continued to grow and evolve, as has the regime’s response to it. The regime has deployed deadly force against street protesters. According to Human Rights Activists’ News Agency (HRANA), police have killed more than 500 protesters, including 69 children. Prominent members of the resistance (including some whose only crime was posting a TikTok video) have also been arrested.
Police routinely shoot protesters with pellets in the face and genitals, permanently disfiguring them. Detained female protesters have described sexual assault while in prison or in police custody. Two protesters have been executed on charges of “warring against god”. In one of these executions, the prisoner was hung from a crane. At least 26 other imprisoned protesters are charged with crimes that could result in execution. Reports of torture of detainees and evidence of torture on the bodies of deceased protesters have become common.
These intimidation tactics have indeed had an effect on the protest movement. While mass street protests continue, they are not as frequent nor as widespread as they initially were. Instead, the nature of the protests seems to be evolving. For example, protesters are hurling petrol bombs at police stations and religious schools. Recently, a “turban tossing” has emerged where a protester runs up behind a cleric, knocks their turban off their head and runs away. Famous sports figures and prominent members of Iran’s entertainment industry are also now speaking openly in favor of regime change.
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